It is indeed an honour and a privilege to take on this role and serve as Chair of Stanmore Jaffreys Football Academy (SJFA). In my current role as the Secretary of the SJFA, I feel extremely grateful and humbled to have been afforded with this opportunity. At the same time though, there is also some sadness as my taking on this role marks the end of the amazing chairmanship of Shafique Govani and his team who have done an outstanding job shaping this Academy over the past two years to what it is today – based on the three pillars of faith, football and friendship. It is an Academy that has not just benefited our youth but the wider community and also provided a platform to reach out to the wider external community. Therefore, a very big thank you to brothers Shafique Govani, Hyderali Datoo and Kumail Merali for their extraordinary work and leadership over the last two years.
The stewardship of the SJFA has been characterised by innovative ideas, strategic thinking, and most valuable, their tireless efforts to increase the credibility and visibility of SJFA in the local community. The resulting goodwill has become a huge asset to us, and the relationships they have fostered with our supporters and partners will ensure the SJFA will prosper and continue to reap the benefits it has done – to both the community and our youth.
By all measures, the SJFA has developed immensely on their watch – some of the highlights include the BEDSA nomination earlier this year, the engagement we have with the Football Association including invitations to the Royal Box during the FA Cup Semi Final, the Salaam Cup tournament, increased representation at our events and a great relationship with our partners. With the support of the parents and the youth we will inshallah continue to build on this in the coming years.
From a personal point of view, the warm friendship and support of Shafique, Hyderali and Kumail has been very important to us throughout the last two years. Their energy and devotion to the roles they have undertaken will be impossible to match (although we will try our upmost), but they leave the SJFA a better organisation and on a strong footing for those of us who will follow.
Looking ahead, I am particularly thrilled that brothers Shafique, Hyderali and Kumail have agreed to continue to support the new team and focus on our longer-term strategy and I am confident that with a ONE team ethos, together we can build on the success of the last two years and take the SJFA to the next level inshAllah.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce the ONE team that will cover all aspects of the club for the 2017/2018 season. This extended team – in place since earlier this year and actively involved in the management of the Academy – has been instrumental in the delivery of various activities from the weekly newsletter, to driving the change of the training venue from the Hive to the Harefied Academy etc.
The ONE team consists of the following:
Mohammed Valjy – Chair
Abbas Khatau – Club Secretary
Hussein Pirbhai – Head of Development
Safraz Valjy – Head of Operations
Afzal Merali – Head of Digital
Shafique Govani – FA Liaison and Welfare Officer
Hyderali Datoo – Joint Head of Marketing
Kumail Merali – Joint Head of Marketing
The ONE team provides the platform to the 30 plus dedicated coaches who are the backbone of this Academy. They are the chosen ones who turn up for training come rain or shine. Without these coaches and their time and commitment, it would be difficult for the SJFA to run a community football club that engages with hundreds of its youth and the wider community at large. Thank you coaches.
So what do we have planned over the 2017-2019 seasons?
Well, we want to continue to run a community club with a long term vision of joining a local league one day inshAllah. For us to achieve this we need to focus on the following:
- Development of the Coaches – we plan to offer all our coaches the opportunity to take their FA Level 1 Badge and continuous technical development with external FA & UEFA qualified coaches. In fact, through Ramadhan our coaches have already been mentored by a UEFA qualified coach with links to Crystal Palace.
- Development of our Youth – the investment in our coaches can only improve the training sessions and develop the youth. We want to focus on all players including goalkeepers and aim to bring in external coaches to work on some of the great goalkeepers across the age groups. We are also conscious that the youth of today are the future leaders of the SJFA and the ONE team are already working on investing in the Tier 7 youth both in terms of their coaching ability but also look to offer them the opportunity to train as referees. As Chair I am already in discussions with a facilitator to look at rolling out “soft” skills that will not only help their development in the SJFA set up but also in their professional development e.g. communication/leadership skills.
- Friendlies – the boys really enjoy and value the friendlies. Brother Safraz, Head of Operations, will continue to reach out to our network to arrange friendlies across all the tiers. Over the next two years we will look to do this on a national basis.
- Tournaments – we will continue to search for tournaments that suits our needs. InshAllah we will aim to enter more team(s) in an international tournament.
- FA/Other Sporting Bodies Exposure – There is no doubt we need to tap into the opportunities offered by external sporting bodies. Brother Shafique and I have agreed that this is where we need to focus and I am grateful to him that he has agreed to work on this important objective.
- Social Responsibility – This is an area we will focus on. The SJFA is a community club and that means we need to give back to the community. SJFA has to be more than just about football. Earlier this year some of the coaches started sponsoring Iraqi Orphans and some of the proceeds from the Salaam Cup raffle were also allocated to this worthy cause. The ONE team will look at other opportunities to partner with local/national charities and I am sure you will support us on these new initiatives.
- Social Media – Over the last 2 years, the positive feedback we have received on the ever evolving SJFA website content and newsletter has been great. This area is still in development and we need to look at other aspects of social media to grow the SJFA brand.
Finally, we also recognise that for us to have continuous success we need the ongoing support and backing of the parents. I would therefore humbly ask you to stand by the ONE team over the next two years and continue to share with us your constructive feedback.
Bring on the new season.